August 18 2012 07:34AM
Amid the gasps and shudders inspired by the glorious #1's and the gifted man-child Eberle, the kingdom of Sweden gifted Edmonton with a sturdy lad with speed to burn.
Talking to most Oiler fans about Magnus Paajarvi, you get a mixed bag. On the one hand he’s an absolute rocket on skates, so fast he can exit his own zone late and catch up to the play in plenty of time to join the party. On the other hand, he’s a little shy in some of the physical areas of the ice and doesn’t use his body like you’d like him to; he’s also quick to exit the scoring zones and cheat for defense. His background (he played defense as a younger player) lends itself to playing without the puck and that might lend itself to filling that Pisani-Grier role for the Oilers.
We talked about Paajarvi's two NHL seasons here, and I suggested Paajarvi is way too young for us to make sweeping statements. He may end up being a complementary player on a line with the Nuge or Hall or Eberle and he might end up manning the point on the PP ala Rene Robert and Fred Stanfield thousands of years ago.
Derek Zona is an outstanding observer and innovator who hangs out at Copper and Blue and NHL Numbers, and has given us some truly insightful information over the years. When Derek talks, it is wise to listen. In one of his latest articles that features some numbers that should make everyone warm and fuzzy about Taylor Hall (and Ales Hemsky), Derek writes the following about Magnus Paajarvi:
- Zona: Magnus Paajarvi was beaten by bad luck last season, but won the territorial battle. Compare his results to anyone else facing third-line minutes and the contrast is stark. If the Oilers want to be a competitive team, they need Paajarvi on their roster - not anchors like Petrell, Hordichuk and Eager.
We identified some good things here in April but Derek takes those numbers and shows us a different way of looking at things--and I think a more effective way. In the middle of a season that saw him spend time in the minors, Magnus Paajarvi was a blueboy, a possession winner. The Vollman Sledgehammer graph bears out the same information, and Derek further pushes Paajarvi's case here.
VOLLMAN'S SLEDGEHAMMER (OILERS EDITION 11-12)
Notice Paajarvi in blue? He's pushing the river, surrounded by boats with holes. That's Derek Zona's point on Paajarvi, and it is something we should pay attention to now. Why? because if Paajarvi rips it up in a new town and you say "well he didn't show anything in Edmonton" we can refer back to these writings and graphs and prove that he was showing well despite the boxcars.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers are overflowing with young forward talent, but no team can afford to overlook quality. I think Paajarvi has the look of a quality 2-way winger, and Zona believes in him even more--suggesting a top 6F role may well be in his future. Magnus Paajarvi is an important part of the Oilers future.
Scheduled to appear:
- Derek Zona, who will defend Magnus Paajarvi against the slings and arrows of non-believers; tell us about an enormous 30-team project underway at NHL Numbers and walk us through the Copper and Blue's Top 25 under 25.
- Corey Pronman, who is quicky becoming a prospect guru through the power of his brain and the internet.
- Guy Flaming is the co-host of the best prospects show on the planet. We'll talk Hlinka, Oil Kings and 2013 draft.
- Jonathan Willis will drop by and we'll talk Oilers and how they might solve their blue and goalie woes; the lockout and how the stats guys and girls are going to tackle next season.
- Corey Graham, pbp man for the Edmonton Oil Kings on Team 1260. No matter what happens with the CBA, the Oil Kings roll and very soon. We'll set the stage with Corey today.
Love to have you tune in, Team 1260 at noon today. Your questions and comments are the best, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave the message below in the comments thread. I always check twitter as well--tweet to @ItsNationRadio and Lowetide_ to get in touch.